Defend a Woman’s Right to Choose! No on Proposition 4!

Workers Action
“Parents rightfully want to be involved in their teenagers’ lives, and the good news is that most teens do go to their parents when faced with an unintended pregnancy. But in the real world, parental notification laws don’t work. No law can mandate family communication.”

For the third time in four years, Proposition 4 is a ballot measure which would endanger teens by mandating parental notification 48 hours in advance of a minor terminating a pregnancy. Read the official Prop 4 Summary, as well as the No on 4 Ballot Argument.

Parents rightfully want to be involved in their teenagers’ lives, and the good news is that most teens do go to their parents when faced with an unintended pregnancy. But in the real world, parental notification laws don’t work. No law can mandate family communication.

Who opposes Prop 4? Check out the coalition of organizations, doctors and parents who have joined together to protect teen safety and have endorsed “No on Prop 4,” including:
• California Nurses Association
• California Medical Association
• California Association of School Counselors
• California Teachers Association
• Planned Parenthood
Prop 4 creates dangerous barriers for a vulnerable teen going to a trusted adult such as a grandma or aunt for support.

Don’t be fooled by Prop 4’s inclusion of an “alternative family member notification” in this initiative. Prop 4 is not about “family involvement.”

Family notification is no more than a state-scripted form letter sent to another relative who may not live in the same town or state. Prop 4 contains no requirement for counseling and no requirement that the notified adult help her when she is in crisis. Prop 4 puts our most vulnerable teenagers in harms way.

To put it more bluntly, forced family notification is a lie. Right now, a scared pregnant teen can already go to a trusted aunt or an older sister. This law would close that option to her because, under Prop 4, if the teen chooses to go to another adult, her parents would be automatically reported to authorities and an investigation would ensue.

Our greatest responsibility is to protect the health and safety of our daughters. Their health and safety comes first.

The “judicial bypass” plan proposed in this law would mean that teens who don’t want to talk to their parents have the chance to go to court. However, judicial bypass is absurd.

A scared pregnant teen who can’t tell her parents isn’t going to navigate a crowded court system and reveal intimate details about her life to an unfamiliar judge. In states with judicial bypass exceptions the obstacles facing the teen are nearly insurmountable and force them to take matters into their own hands. She doesn’t need a judge; she needs a caring counselor and safe, quality medical care, without delay.

What might this judicial maze look like? Download Jane Goes to the Doctor, a PDF that illustrates the “options” available to a teen if Proposition 4 were in place. We follow Jane through the complex maze she would navigate through to get safe and legal medical care.

Prop 4 doesn’t make sense in the real world and falsely claims to address a problem that doesn’t exist.

The TRUTH about “Sarah”: Proposition 4 was supposedly named after a young teen “Sarah” who died of the tragic consequences of a botched abortion. All through last summer when the proponents were collecting signatures they pitched their new initiatives as “Sarah’s Law” — to protect teens just like Sarah…

In reality, it turns out there WAS NO “SARAH.”

Sarah is not who they claim she is and NOTHING in Prop. 4 would have prevented her tragic death in Texas in 1994. Her real name is Jammie Garcia Yanez-Villegas. She was a married mother from Texas. Proponents want you to believe that Prop. 4 would have prevented her death. It wouldn’t. Just like their absurd attacks against Planned Parenthood, proponents are exploiting “Sarah” to mislead voters. Prop. 4 would not have saved Jammie.

That’s why the San Jose Mercury News called Prop. 4 “the most deceptive measure on California’s ballot this fall.”

Research Related to Prop 4:

This Bixby Center brief defines what California can learn from other states in the area of mandated parental notification and consent laws. Nationwide research is compared to California showing that California leads the nation with a higher rate of parental communication about sexual activity and a steeper decline in adolescent pregnancy, birth, and abortion rates. It also draws conclusions about the dangerous actions teens are likely to take if parental notification is implemented in California.

Bixby Center for Reproductive Health Research & Policy, University of California, San Francisco “Adolescents & Parental Notification for Abortion” Sept 2008

In this Public Health Institute Policy Review, the Center for Research on Adolescent Health and Development outlines the implications of mandated parental notification laws.
Public Health Institute, Center for Research on Adolescent Health and Development, “No Time for Complacency – Policy Review” Fall 2008

The California Adolescent Health Collaborative put together a brief outlining how mandated parental notification laws create barriers to time-sensitive health care.
California Adolescent Health Collaborative, “Barriers to Care: Implications of Requiring Parental Involvement for California Minors Seeking Abortions” 2008

In this statement, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) reaffirms its position that the rights of adolescents to confidential care when considering abortion should be protected. The statement presents a summary of pertinent current information related to the benefits and risks of legislation requiring mandatory parental involvement in an adolescent’s decision to obtain an abortion.

American Academy of Pediatrics, Committee on Adolescence, PEDIATRICS Vol 97 No. 5 May 1996 “The Adolescent’s Right to Confidential Care When Considering Abortion” May 1996